Is your butcher keeping a secret from you

Is your butcher keeping a secret from you?

If your local butcher is anything like mine, they might have a big secret…

Is your butcher keeping a secret from you

Since I moved out of Sydney last year, I've struggled to find a good butcher. I used to have an amazing organic butcher just a short walk from my house. My butcher would make me up paleo sausages to my exact requirements (pork and apple were my favourites), order fresh turkey for me (something I find surprisingly difficult to find in Australia) and always had super cheap grass-fed bones I could use for making bone broths.

I've not seen words like “grass-fed”, “pasture-raised” or even “gluten-free” at all in my new local shops. It’s not really practical to buy meat in the city and travel back home with it – and I don’t yet have a big enough freezer to buy half a cow from a local farmer. So what’s girl to do?

I'm ashamed to say I've been walking past my local butcher for quite a few months without stopping. I glanced at the display and made a lot of assumptions.

Well yesterday, I stopped.

I've taken to roasting a piece of pork rind in the oven and filling the tray with veggies to roast in the delicious fat (try it!). Pork rind is really cheap (in keeping with my $50 budget challenge) and using good quality pork it’s a great fat source. Anyway, I couldn't find any pork rind, so stopped to have a chat with the butcher.

I asked her if they ever get in any grass-fed meat, or can order some – she told me that all of their meat is grass-fed! She pointed to an old black and white photo behind the counter, and explained that her grandfather was in the photo – and that they've been buying all their meat from the same local farm for the last three generations. It’s all naturally raised. Could she make me some gluten-free sausages? All of her sausages are gluten-free – she just never uses words like gluten-free or grass-fed because she’s found those words put people off!

What a revelation!

I bought two giant pieces of pork rind for just $3 and am so pleased to finally have a local butcher again.

So if you've not found anywhere locally, my advice is this – speak to your butcher. Chances are they too don’t realise how much of a good marketing feature their naturally raised, organic, grass-fed meat is!

Would love to know if you've had a similar experience with your butcher too?

Seared Venison Loin with Allspice, Thyme and Minted Pea Mash paleo dinner recipe beef grass-fed-min

Recipe: Seared Venison Loin with Allspice, Thyme and Minted Pea Mash

Another highly under rated meat, top quality venison is rich in flavour, lean and packed with nutrients. It can be tricky to source, so speak with your butcher and see what is available. It works great with fresh herbs like allspice and thyme – and is complimented perfectly by one of my favourite sides, minted pea mash!

Venison Loin Ingredients:

  • 750g venison loin
  • 1 tbsp allspice berries
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • Sea salt

For the Pea Mash:

  • 300g frozen garden peas
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste

Venison Loin How To:

In a mortar and pestle, crush the allspice berries and black peppercorns. Add the garlic cloves and thyme, and squish them altogether to form a paste. Pour in the olive oil, and season to taste with a little sea salt. Rub this all over the venison loin.

Heat a little oil in your largest, frying pan to a high heat. When the oil is really hot, place the venison in the pan and sear for around 6 minutes each side (for medium – rare). If needs be, check if it is cooked to your liking by cutting gently into it with a sharp knife. Leave to stand for 5 minutes before carving and serving.

To make the pea mash, cook the frozen peas as you would normally before draining and transferring to a large bowl. Add the olive oil, then roughly mash with a potato masher – you don’t want it to be too smooth. Add the garlic, chilli and mint, then whizz it altogether with a fork.

Have you tried cooking with Venison?

Seared Venison Loin with Allspice, Thyme and Minted Pea Mash paleo dinner recipe beef grass-fed-min

paleo sausages

Paleo Sausages

I've found an amazing organic butcher, really close to where I live.  I've used them for almost all of my meat for a while.  I was there earlier this week buying some bacon (the best bacon I've had in Australia, actually) and pork, when I mentioned what a shame it is that all of their sausages contain flour (though they only use rice flour, which is obviously a lot better than many alternatives out there).  He asked me if I wanted some special grain free Paleo Sausages made up for me!  I had no idea they would do this.

I could choose whatever I wanted to go with the organic beef, but he suggested capsicum (bell pepper), shallots and salt – I thought that would be a great combination for my first batch.  Even more exciting the castings for all of their sausages are made the proper way – from intestines, instead of synthetic castings, which can be made of all sorts of materials like  collagen, cellulose, or even plastic.  I certainly don't fancy eating any of those!

I picked up my order today, which worked out at about 30 sausages for the 2kg batch.

Paleo sausages and eggs-min

I've just had my first taste – and they were fantastic!

This is the ingredients for one of the better ranges of supermarket sausages: –

Ingredients: Beef (76%), Water, Potato Starch, Sea Salt, Dehydrated Vegatables (Onion & Garlic), Dextrose (Tapioca or Maize), Mineral Salt (451), Sugar (Cane Sugar), Preservative (223), Spices, Herbs, Natural Colour (160c), Natural Flavour, Yeast Extract, Herb Extract

And this is the ingredients for my Paleo sausages: –

Ingredients: Organic Beef, Capsicum, Shallots, Salt

There's no comparison is there?

Have you made your own Paleo sausages, or had them made?  I'd love to hear your suggestions of ingredients for my second batch!